The Dream Customer
In 2012, the first major collaboration between Chrysler and Fiat produced a brand new version of the classic 1970s Dodge Dart, to a lukewarm reception. Why? At least three reasons: including a manual transmission for a mainly automatic transmission buying audience; installing a European style dual clutch, for mainly American buyers and entering a tough, competitive market. Did they really consider their dream customer?
When developing the SUV Cayenne, Porsche, on the other hand, had their product team do extensive surveys with potential customers, evaluating what features they would pay for and removing features they would not pay for.
So, how did Chrysler get it so wrong? There are five common mistakes in dealing with customers:
- Providing an overwhelming number of choices.
- Incongruence between promotion and practice.
- Relying on technology when they need the human touch.
- Inability to do the basics well.
- Explaining in overly technical jargon.
When you fail to include your dream customer in your product development process you succeed in creating a product nobody wants. By understanding your dream customer, what they need, their pressing issues, and where their pain is, you can develop products and key innovation projects to serve.
“When you fail to include your dream customer in your product development process you succeed in creating a product nobody wants.”
RATE: Radical Agile Transformation Exercise
Do you know who your dream customer is?
There are 3 steps for understanding your dream customer:
- Consider the big issues they are facing – look wider and investigate global issues, such as hunger, environmental sustainability or education.
- Identify the industry trends that are affecting them – technology, big data, cyber security, etc.
- Describe your customer avatar now – make a collage including their goals and values, demographics, their pain points and challenges.
Now work out how you can help them:
- What key innovation opportunities can you offer – what innovation projects will make a real difference, that are market focused, innovative, exciting and inspiring.
- Select customers who like, know and can afford you.
- Redefine your purpose so you can serve your dream customer.
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Sari van Poelje has 30 years experience of innovation on the interface of leadership and organizational development, executive coaching and transactional analysis both as a director within several multinationals and as an international consultant. Specialization in creating agile leadership teams and business innovation! She is the author of numerous articles and books on leadership and change.
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